Holy Cross is a Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School for boys and girls aged 3 years – 11 years. It is situated at the southern end of South Ockendon, standing in its own pleasant grounds of approximately 8 acres. Our part-time Nursery Class takes children from 3 years with a maximum of 26 places (morning and afternoon). The Governors admit 45 children in the reception class.
A BRIEF HISTORY
When Father Johnson first arrived in South Ockendon as Parish Priest in the early fifties, he found to his dismay that there were no plans to build a Catholic School on the estate. Catholic children, though living in the Parish of Aveley, were travelling each day to St. Thomas’s in Grays.
Following much discussion with the Education Authority, Bishop Beck and the Mother Provincial of the La Sainte Union Order, permission was finally obtained from the Department of Education and Science to build a school on the Daiglen Drive site. A new Infant School opened on 17th April 1956. The following year, the Junior School was completed.
Madame Dominic Mary, a sister of the La Sainte Order was the first Head Teacher of both Infants and Juniors until September 1957. In that year, while she retained the Headship of the Junior School, she was joined by Madame Mary Ailbie, who was appointed as the first Head Teacher of the Infants School.
In those days the cost of building the two schools came to a mere £111,884, of which £89,675 was contributed by the Sisters. The schools amalgamated under the leadership of Sister Rita O’Dowd in the eighties. In 1981 a fire destroyed part of the Junior building and this was a period of great upheaval for Governors, staff, parents and children. The damaged area was partially rebuilt, but never to the same extent.
Following the retirement of Sister Rita, two years passed before a new Head Teacher was appointed. In 1990 the school welcomed Sister Patricia Murray who, despite many difficulties, led the staff in further development of Holy Cross School. In 1997, the first lay Head Teacher, Margaret Wosiek, was appointed.
In September 2001, Katherine Golden was appointed Head Teacher. In the same year, an additional classroom was completed, enabling all the Junior children to be housed together, as well as a purpose-built ICT suite. In the summer of 2005 the Reception and Staff Room area was extended and remodelled. This area is named the “The Josie Holly Wing” in recognition of her long and dedicated commitment to the school.
In September 2009 Maria Shepherd joined Holy Cross as Head Teacher along with a team of new teachers. These firm foundations are the bedrock of our school.
In 2016 the school celebrated its Diamond Jubilee.
In September 2017 the school started on a new part of its journey. A three school partnership between Holy Cross, St Thomas of Canterbury, Grays and St Joseph’s, Stanford Le Hope, formally started on September 1st. The Executive Head teacher is Mr Chris Birtles and the Head of school at Holy Cross is Mrs Ciara Manning.